Tips for Controlling Your Cholesterol?

Cholesterol levels increase with age; are you at risk?

Credit: Flickr / Becka York

Salmon and barley are both smart choices for a low cholesterol diet

Knowing your current cholesterol level can help you make healthy choices

A high level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood can lead to plaque build-up in artery walls, narrowing the arteries and greatly increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

While there are genetic factors that can’t be controlled, there are dietary steps that can be taken to keep cholesterol levels in check.

How to Maintain or Lower Your Cholesterol

Bad Fats: Limit your intake of saturated fat, found mainly in red meat, butter and high-fat dairy products. Saturated fats raise bad cholesterol.

Good Fats: Choose healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as they lower bad cholesterol. They’re found in vegetable oils, nuts and fish.

Fatty Fish: Eat two servings of fatty fish per week, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines or herring (not fried). Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower bad cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Trans Fat: Avoid trans fats, often found in foods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, including hard margarines, fast foods and many packaged foods. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.

Fibre: Eat more soluble fibre, which lowers bad cholesterol without lowering good cholesterol. Oats, barley, kidney beans, apples and pears are all rich in soluble fibre.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.